Re: NANO: Casimir force a source of energy/propulsion?

Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 14:09:43 MST

Mike Lorrey writes:
> It seems that some researchers, including some at NASA, are researching
> the use of MEMS devices to extract energy from Zero Point Field quantum
> fluctuations:

They're not exactly extracting energy in the sense of using it as a
power source, but the Casimir force can apparently be used in very
low distance sensing applications.

I was surprised to read:

> The Casimir effect is already a problem for fabricating MEMS devices
> because at very short distances free surfaces tend to stick together,
> said Mohideen. "During the fabrication step, it is very hard to make
> free moving surfaces such as cantilevers [and] bridges which are
> separated by short distances," he said.

Drexler's book Nanosystems has a great deal of analysis of friction
and the forces experienced by atomically-smooth surfaces in contact.
However I don't think he discusses the Casimir force. It sounds like it
could be a significant factor in the kinds of nano- mechanical designs
that Drexler considered.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:36 MST